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Taste test: Chocolate fruit dips

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Serving size 1 tablespoon 1.5 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons
Calories 80 145 110 120
Fat/Fiber 5g / 0g 9g / 1g 1g / 1g 4g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium 8g / 10mg 17g / 18mg 16g /85mg 17g / 80mg
Carbs/Protein 9g / 0g 18g / 1g 25g / 1g 21g / 2g


In this season of sweethearts, few foods say "I Love You" like chocolate-dipped strawberries. Instead of expensive roses or a box of truffles, why not treat your beloved to an easy, homemade dessert that looks anything but simple. We found four brands of chocolate fruit dip and enjoyed each one. Our panelists preferred the chocolate coatings that hardened around the berries, compared with the messier dips. But they all tasted pretty good. We sampled single strawberries, dipped in each variety of chocolate. Some of the chocolates had to be melted in the microwave beforehand, according to package directions.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)

Baker's/68

Dolci Frutta/65

Marzetti/48

Smucker's/45

Serving size

1 tablespoon

1.5 tablespoons

2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons

Calories

80

145

110

120

Fat/fiber

5g / 0g

9g / 1g

1g / 1g

4g / 0g

Sugar/sodium

8g / 10mg

17g / 18mg

16g / 85mg

17g / 80mg

Carbs/protein

9g / 0g

18g / 1g

25g / 1g

21g / 2g

Judges'

comments

Baker's

After melting these little chocolate discs, our panelists liked the way they coated the strawberries. They also liked the milk chocolate taste. Most said they would have preferred these if the chocolate hardened a bit more. The flavor, though, won them over. "The texture is very Hershey's — smooth, sweet and just the right shade of Buster Brown," one judge said. Baker's sells this in dark chocolate as well. A couple judges said the darker chocolate may give the flavor a needed boost.

Dolci

The strawberries dipped in this microwave-melted chocolate turned into a firm coating with a shiny glow. Judges raved about the look of their berries after a chocolate treatment from Dolci. "It's hard like the coating on an ice cream bar," one judge said. Another likened the chocolate shell to the "dip-top" chocolate he knew as a child. "The chocolate is very tasty," said another. "It reminds me of the chocolate you get in San Francisco," he said. "The color is rich and dark and it has a slight, peppery taste."

Marzetti

Very runny but tasty, said judges of this chocolate dip. Panelists compared it with chocolate sauce that also would work on ice cream or in a tall glass of milk. "It has a great, dark color," one judge said. "It's gooey and good," said another. He would have added salty pretzels to the dip as well.

Smucker's

Judges compared the flavor of this brand to chocolate pudding. "It's thick like a caramel with a lighter color. It reminds me of a bear from the Pacific Northwest," said one panelist. "This is good once, but way too sweet for multiple dips," another judge said. One suggested the sauce might be especially good in a warm fondue.

Would

they buy?

Baker's

Three of the four judges said yes.

Dolci

Three of the four judges said yes.

Marzetti

Two of the four judges said yes.

Smucker's

Two of the four judges said yes.

Shopping information

Baker's

$2.89 for a 7-ounce container from Publix.

Dolci

$2.79 for an 8-ounce container from Publix.

Marzetti

$3.49 for a 15-ounce container from Publix.

Smucker's

$2.49 for a 12-ounce jar from Target.

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietician; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute in St. Petersburg; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island. All foods were tasted blind.

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Baker's: 68Dolci Frutta: 65Marzetti: 48Smucker's: 45
Judges'

comments
After melting these little chocolate discs, our panelists liked the way they coated the strawberries. They also liked the milk chocolate taste. Most said they would have preferred these if the chocolate hardened a bit more. The flavor, though, won them over. "The texture is very Hershey's — smooth, sweet and just the right shade of Buster Brown," one judge said. Baker's sells this in dark chocolate as well. A couple of judges said the darker chocolate may give the flavor a needed boost.The strawberries dipped in this microwave-melted chocolate turned into a firm coating with a shiny glow. Judges raved about the look of their berries after a chocolate treatment from Dolci. "It's hard like the coating on an ice cream bar," one judge said. Another likened the chocolate shell to the "dip-top" chocolate he knew as a child. "The chocolate is very tasty," said another. "It reminds me of the chocolate you get in San Francisco," he said. "The color is rich and dark and it has a slight, peppery taste."Very runny but tasty, said judges of this chocolate dip. Panelists compared it with chocolate sauce that also would work on ice cream or in a tall glass of milk. "It has a great, dark color," one judge said. "It's gooey and good," said another judge, who would have added salty pretzels to the dip as well.Judges compared the flavor of this brand to chocolate pudding. "It's thick like a caramel with a lighter color. It reminds me of a bear from the Pacific Northwest," said one panelist. "This is good once, but way too sweet for multiple dips," another judge said. One suggested the sauce might be especially good in a warm fondue.
Would

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.89 for a 7-ounce

container from Publix.
$2.79 for an 8-ounce container from Publix.$3.49 for a 15-ounce container from Publix.$2.49 for a 12-ounce jar from Target.


Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute in St. Petersburg; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: Chocolate fruit dips 02/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 3:30am]

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